Pollo Campero? WTF?

Ok, so WTF is up with Pollo Campero?

Friday, there was an article in the Washington Post about this new chain from Central America that had opened up a store in Falls Church. People were lining up every day at 8 am to get this chicken. The wait was 2 hours at least to get in and get some of this magical chicken.

NUH-UH, says I.

My roommate/best friend is from Mexico so I asked her if she had heard of it.

“Mexico isn’t in Central America,” she snarled.

OK, fine, so after the quick geography lesson, she told me she had never heard of it but if it was anything like some place in Mexico called Pollo Loco (Crazy Chicken?) it could be worth the wait.

NUH-UH, says I again. You see, I can’t fathom a piece of chicken that is worth a 2 hour wait. However, if such a chicken exists, then I MUST eat it.

So Sunday, we decide to find this place. The only thing I can remember is that this place is on Columbia Pike in Falls Church. So we head down Columbia Pike and we get into Falls Church and we haven’t seen it yet.

“Maybe I should call and see…” My roommate stops me.

“No way dude, we’ve found it.”

There, in yonder distance, is a crowd of people. A massive crowd of people. There were literally 200 people lined up outside of this fast food place. There were cops directing the line and directing traffic. Orange cones everywhere. :confused:

I mean this is a Space Mountain at Disney World over Spring Break quality line. It snakes back in forth, full of people waiting for this damn chicken.

So we didn’t eat lunch there. We went somewhere else.

Fast forward to around 4:00. I need to go to Pep Boys and the only one I know of is in Annandale which means I will have to go past Pollo Campero. I decide that if there are 50 people in line, I will wait to get this chicken. So I drive up and now the line has swelled-and I swear I am not making this up- at least 300 people.

The parking lot is full of these people. The line is snaking back even further. There are more cops.

Ok, seriously, WTF? IT IS JUST CHICKEN!!!

Anyone out there ever had this stuff? Is it worth the wait? It can’t possibly be, right?

Sounds pretty weird to me. There are several stores here in Panama, but I never heard it was anything special and have never gone there. Now I’ll have to try it out.

The new chicken place that recently opened here and that has been a bit crowded with people trying it out is Popeye’s.

I drive by the Pollo Campero place semi-regularly. No matter what time, there’s always crowds of people waiting to get in. I read the article about this place in the Washington Post, as well. The chicken is injected with a special marinade before it is breaded and deep-fried. I think the appeal of the chicken is that it’s a taste of home for homesick immigrants. I’ll tell you what, if the crowds die down after a few months, I’ll stop by for some of that chicken to see if it’s any good.

I’m going to try to stop by in January; on a cold and snowy day when no person would wait 2 hours outside for chicken.

Yo, tramp, come on out to the new Pollo Campero they just opened in Herndon, and you can wait 4 hours! I’m not making this up: http://www.observernews.com/stories/current/news/101703/pollo.shtml


I must eat this chicken!!!

4 hours in Herndon? I thought maybe the one in Herndon would have a smaller wait because of the smaller Latin American population out that way… guess not.

How can I get this chicken without having to wait 2-4 hours in line?

Ahh, memories…

To me Pollo Campero was a tasty alternative to KFC, but that was only circa 1979. KFC was just getting in El Salvador but the owners of the franchise made the chicken so bad, there was a nasty loss of the franchise in the country, bad word of mouth can make a brand name suffer for decades if a franchise cuts corners.
Now I realize why the Coronel, in the US around the 60’s, destroyed the pots of a franchise that was not making the chicken right.

Pollo Campero remained king; it was more so when Mc Donald’s decided to stop making fried chicken, (another curious “only in Central America” thing)

The chicken itself is good, I would indeed prefer it over KFC, but I think the reason it resonates with many Central Americans is that they do miss the flavors they grew up with, I remember there was a similar run with the Filipino community when the Jolly Bee hamburger company opened a franchise in San Francisco (Cool cheese wrist watches came with some meals)

Just a taste from home, and as I see, a good way to show that no, not all Latinos in the US are Mexican!


PS: I do remember there is a franchise in San Jose, California.

Yeah, but is it worth the wait GIGObuster?

I discovered Pollo Campero during a trip to Guatemala in December of 2000. My findings: yes, it is really good fried chicken; no, it’s not something you should wait on a 2-hour line for (it’s not like one of the spices is hemp or anything). As mentioned above, YMMV with franchises.

Mmmm…El Pollo Loco. It’s a Mexican chain, but it has franchises across California - maybe the rest of the southwest, too. Very good chicken. Not fried or breaded, but grilled on this huge grill that you can see from the counter very clearly. I wish to God they were opening an El Pollo Loco in Arlington. I’d eat there every other day. But I wouldn’t wait 2 hours.

Definitely going to have to try out Pollo Campero. In a few months, anyway.

Plus, we’re going to be having some Coldstones opening up in Arlington and DC soon! Yay!

Neurotik, what is Coldstones? I’m guessing it’s a new kind of fast food? I guess I’ll have to try it for the good of the SDMB community.

Coldstone Creamery.

Great ice cream and the ice cream people sing to you.

Like JRDelirious said, YMMV.

This run for “the food from home” it is better understood by looking at an American example:

In the Arizona Republic newspaper, I think, there was an article of many US soldiers standing in line to get a “treat from home” in the Iraq international airport: what great culinary innovation?

Burger King!